Stop the Presses – Save the Journalism

NickelNuts pointed me to an article by media lawyer, Steven P. Aggergaard article via instant messaging, I read it in my web browser, and then posted this to a weblog.

Aggergaard is arguing we need to keep paper in newspaper – because that equals journalism and full-time jobs. Despite all the costs and overhead he lists out. In addition, the quality of information delivered online for free (versus $0.50 for a daily paper – Huh?) is some how not as valuable.

Minneapolis and St. Paul have a huge need for a hyper-local citizen (not consumer) journalism form. Something closer to what the smaller papers (St. Anthony Bulletin, Northeaster, Downtown Journal) are doing – but without the paper.

NickelNuts and I have talked about this, and in fact, yesterday over lunch I blurted out: “What would it take to make this happen?”

One website – or news paper – or television channel – or radio station – does not a well informed citizen make. But, what about 350 blogs written by your neighbors?

Dave has some great comments. I’m less concerned about an overarching editorial voice, and more interested in relevance delivered for and by local voices.

A great point and a wonderful tie back to Aggergaard’s original post.

“…readers don’t care. They just want the most complete, accurate and engaging coverage possible. They don’t how we make the sausage, or even who makes it. They just want to eat.” – Robert Niles

Aggergaard responds and corrects in the comments. I follow-up.

3 thoughts on “Stop the Presses – Save the Journalism

  1. is there really that much local stuff to ‘report’? looking at the papers you list – and others i’m familiar with – most are weeklies, and other than the municipal government coverage, there isn’t really any common thread or beat being covered. is that due to lack of resources, or lack of stuff to write about? methinks it’s probably a little bit of both.

    and that leaves us with what? 350 hyper local ‘journalists’ bitching and moaning about the situation in iraq because there’s nothing going on in their ‘hood this week. sounds like pretty much what we have now.

    it’s a neat idea, though, and with the right people (dedicated, accountable, talented, paid, etc), it could be something.

    oh, and let’s not forget editing, which i think is a much bigger deal than many people realize. one could argue that we’ve already got enough bloggers, but that what we’re really missing is a coherent editorial voice to bring them all together.

  2. You’re right, I’m arguing that full-time journalist jobs (and even some of the “overhead”) are to be valued. But you’re wrong, I’m not arguing that we need to “keep paper in newspaper.” To the contrary, I wholeheartedly agree that online is the way to go, and that trees are to be hugged. My main point is that just need to be prepared to pay for good (online) content that’s locally produced.

    I don’t have time to read 350 blogs. I barely have time to keep my own blog up to date. Dave makes an excellent point, that editing is a “much bigger deal than many people realize.” But I admit my bias: I spent 12 of my 15 years in newspapering as an editor.

    Thanks for taking time to critique my Strib column. I like your blog; I’ll blogroll you when I have a moment.

  3. Steve,

    We agree on this – readers need to financially support the people they enjoy hearing from in a non-trivial manner.

    As I’ve mentioned many times on this site – the current cover price of any print publication doesn’t accurately reflect the costs to the reader. Unfortunately – it may more accurately reflect the value they perceive. I know that’s true for me.

    While there are many ways for publishers to receive micropayment – we don’t yet have the mechanisms for this monetary exchange to take place effectively and easily.

    I’m comfortable giving $100/month for my entire information aggregation and filtering needs. This is far higher than the $4/month rate I figured almost 2 years ago to make publishing breakeven – so, the $96 difference is worth a conversation.

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